Link between Insomnia and Joint Pain

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Good sleep has got many advantages as we all know but, not getting enough sleep is equally dreadful. Be it facing difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep or waking up before the set time or even having disrupted sleep cycle, any of these can worsen your joint pain.

Studies have shown that people who are not able to secure a good sleep often complain about joint pain. This is because a non-sleepy person tends to make efforts to catch up with sleep and in that rush, he would be ignoring his postures. On the contrary, if he or she would doze off for even a short while, in any awkward posture, then pain is sure to be experienced.

Another factor ruling here is intensity of pain. If a person is experiencing mild pain and, is also a victim of insomnia, then he or she would find it altogether more difficult to sleep. Their condition would not let him or her sleep and pain would add to the tragedy.

It is a scientific fact that long term sleep deprivation has got lot many cons and escalation in joint pain is one of them. Many patients of arthritis and osteoarthritis complain about severe pain occurring at night which makes drifting off more difficult along with giving birth to a vicious cycle.

Usually adults need 8 to 9 hours of sleep to wake up refreshed the next morning. Along with long hours, sound sleep span is also important. Generally an individual would take 45 minutes to enter in to the deep sleep zone and this phase keeps a control on inflammatory molecules. Now people with insomnia find it a luxury they can’t afford and hence their body reacts to pain signals, which escalates the intensity of the pain. When a person is in deep sleep, his or her brain releases healing hormones that repair the damaged tissues. It makes one feel relaxed and pain-free. This phenomenon being absent amongst insomniacs, the pain worsen.

Insomnia is also believed to elicit inflammation and sensitization which further aggravates the pain sensation.
Hyperalgesia changes are also witnessed due to insomnia. Sleep fragmentation often affects chronic pain as when an individual continuously experiences sleep deprivation, his body doesn’t respond to the efforts conducted to evade pain and instead the pain signals are solidified. It increases muscle tenderness and increases inflammatory makers that makes joint sore and exhausted. All in all, it turns into a never ending cycle, which if not interrupted can become heavily hazardous.

Measures to overcome insomnia
1. Food
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Have healthy and nutritious food but make sure that you do not have heavy food before going to bed.

2. Meditate

Meditating before going to sleep will help you in letting go of negative thoughts and will ease up your sleeping cycle.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle in general can be of great help. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, smoking and stress if possible to welcome a pain free life.

Housewives and Joint Pain: Causes and Solutions

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Housewives have to carry out a lot of domestic chores. They may or may not get help but in general their routine and lifestyle poses several threats to their joints. Be it something related to the wrong methods of doing the chores or the sedentary lifestyle, their quotidian is not much joint friendly.
Let us have a look at certain of its causes

1. Excessive kneeling
Many housewives suffer from knee pain. In reality they are the victims of inflammation of the bursa. Their front knee experiences swelling and pain. Sometimes that area turns red too. Major chores require kneeling and it causes pressure and friction among bursa and kneecap. Housewives usually don’t pay attention on their postures and time span involved, which leads to inflammation and in turn knee pain.

2. Wrong postures
Usually a housewife is a pro at managing things and doing it all right for her family members but, when it comes to looking at her own body posture, she seems to be a bit not-interested. Conducting tedious tasks or even standing or seating in wrong postures can cause joint pain. Poor posture habits lead to osteoarthritis- due to heavy pressure on the knees. Muscles and discs problems are also generally faced due to poor postures.

3. Sedentary lifestyle
Having considered that many of the times, housewives run ultra-busy and they hardly have time for themselves, it shall also be understood that, at times they also lead a sedentary lifestyle where, leisure has got place but exercise has no room. This causes joint pain.
Other causes include, stress, depression, unattended injuries and also regular wear and tear of muscles due to excessive movements.

Let us look at some of the solutions
1. Carefully conduct the chores

Housewives consider their chores their primary duty and perform the same with sheer authority however, they should focus on their health too. Say for example don’t rush into things. Plan your schedule and work accordingly to avoid sudden jerks and pressures. Rest during or between the chores even for 5 minutes. Keep on shuffling your postures and in case of minor injuries or pain, consult the doctor.

2. Get involved in exercising and stretching
If along with being a housewife, you are able to be an exercise enthusiast, then it would keep all joint problems at bay. If the rigid schedule of yours doesn’t permit that, then try stretching. Stretch before starting your chores, during your chores and after getting done with them too. Yoga can also be of great help here.

3. Food and weight mechanism
Having a healthy diet is a must for all, including housewives. Having nutritious meals and snacks that can improve bone density and joint strength is advisable. Besides, housewives can easily gain weight due to their sedentary lifestyle. This shall not happen as heavy weight invites lot many joint problems.

4. Physiotherapy
In case of extreme pain, it is advisable to go for physiotherapy treatment that assures drug-free and natural pain relief.

How to Choose the Right Ultrasound Gel?

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Any ultrasonic procedure includes the standard device and the gel that completes the therapy. Indeed the device can’t function without the gel. The gel is the catalyst that develops the bond between the probe and the skin. Once the connection is created, it further smoothens up the treatment. The basic function of the ultrasound device is to transmit waves in to the tissues and through that to the affected area, so to avoid the friction here and damage to the skin, gel is highly necessary or rather compulsory. It is a coupling agent that creates an aqueous interface for the device to perform better. Many a times, people end up hurting themselves due to wrong gel being used. So here are some tips that can help you in selecting the right kind of gel.

1. Components
Ultrasound waves can’t travel through air effectively. Even if there are tiny gaps of air between the probe and the skin, the results would not be positive. Also the skin can get damaged. So the gel used should have necessary ingredients that can create the interface between the transducer and the skin that can reduce static.

2. Long lasting
The gel used can be sticky and messy. Its gooey consistency can be a bit problematic to handle. So make sure that the once you have come with an assurance of longevity as applying it again and again can disturb the treatment and reapplication can also irritate the skin. Besides, it is advisable to create a pile of the gel on the necessary skin area which then shall be rubbed through the machine all over the skin. Here if the gel fails to stay stable in the form of the pile or if it doesn’t spread well then avoid using it.

3. Soothing effect
At times, people complain about the burning or itching sensation on the skin due to the use of gel. This is a sign of discontinuing that gel. The ultrasound gel is meant to give you a soothing feeling and make the transmission of waves comfortable. It you are not feeling that way, it means that the gel is not conducive enough to make the transmission of waves smooth which in turn can damage your skin and can also give partial benefits in terms of pain relief.

4. Effective at various frequencies
If an ultrasound machine is purchased, it is an obvious fact that, the same would be used for different pain oriented areas. Depending upon the location of the pain and the intensity of the pain, frequency of the device is set and the same flexibility is expected from the gel. If the gel doesn’t provide this versatility of being active and effective at different frequency levels, it is better to not use it.

5. Natural ingredients

Last but very important, the gel you are using must be having natural ingredients which improve your skin and not harm to your body. The ultrasound gel should be hyper-ionic. Select your best natural gel with the advantage of bacteria resistant and natural ingredients.

7 Benefits of Getting Physiotherapy Treatment at Home

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Physiotherapy holds sound roots that in fact date back to 1800’s, when it was majorly rotating around massage, manipulation and exercise. However, over the years, these dimensions have widened their horizons and today; physio treatment has become one of the most preferred modalities to cure pain. Right from restoring health to enhancing strength, movement and functionality it does it all. Now imagine, getting these benefits without leaving your home. Physiotherapists personally visit patients and perform necessary treatments. Let us learn about other benefits of getting physiotherapy at home.

1. Quick improvement

If you’re experiencing pain due to accident or injury or due to any other reason, you feel any way a little uneasy and the only place that can bring you comfort is your home. Now in that comfort space of yours, if you get treatment then chances of improvement get boosted. You are relaxed and comfortable so you respond quickly.

2. Personal care and connection

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When you are home, you have your people around you and hence you feel motivated. At the same time, the physiotherapist can give you personal attention and you too would be able to share your concern without any hesitation, thus resulting in better growth. All in all, the effectiveness of the treatment gets high.

3. Better recovery guidelines

At times it may happen that, you visit the physiotherapist but, the atmosphere and surrounding there doesn’t help you. This criterion can be totally eliminated in case of home pysio treatment as the physiotherapist would first of all use his or her knowledge and the required tools to help you. Then, he or she would devise a routine for you on the basis of the infrastructure and surrounding of your home, hence leading to better growth.

4. No mobility issues

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In case of high-risk patients, home physio treatment is highly recommended. They might face problems in terms of travelling and making day to day movements. So when a physiotherapist visits their place, they get best treatment by being at their home.

5. Time management

At times it is difficult to keep up with the schedule of the physiotherapist. People miss out on experts and their treatments due to nonflexible schedules. This obstacle can be very well addressed through home physio treatment. You can manage your routine and also get highly effective treatments by planning sessions according to your schedules and routine.

6. Cost effective

Cost Effective

There is no denial in a fact that, travelling to a doctor is worthy but, one can’t also completely ignore the travelling expenses. So when the physiotherapist visits your home, you save your travelling expenditure, which makes the entire treatment process cost-effective.

7. Supervision

When you are treated at your home, your family members can keep an eye on the treatment and on the growth scale too. If you too feel disheartened, they would be there to support you and can help the physiotherapist as well if he or she needs anything.

Know your Joints- Knees, Shoulders and Back

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Human body as we all know has got 3 primary joints; Knee, shoulder and back. However, what all of us don’t know is their mechanism, which often leads to damage and diseases. So today, let us learn about their functionality.

Knees

The largest and one of the most complicated joints in the human body, the Knee, joints the thigh with the leg. It has got 3 main components mainly kneecap, patellar groove and the medial and lateral tibiofemoral articulations. All of its components work in synergy to ease our horizontal and vertical body movements. Besides, there is another important factor, the cartilage. It is a thin tissue that bears the pressure of body movements and keeps the joints healthy. The common knee problems that people have is of sprains and strains that affect the knee cap. Minor accidents are often the reasons for the same. Tearing of ligaments, fractures and kneecap dislocation are also connected to kneecap. Another major knee problem includes arthritis. When the cartilage gets damaged, bones get rubbed against each other and that causes the disease. Poor eating habits, unattended injuries, sedentary lifestyle can be counted as the major causes here. So all in all to keep your joint healthy, eat right and exercise well.

Shoulders

One of the most mobile and flexible joint of our body, the shoulder joint is the socket joint of our body. It joints our shoulder blade and upper arm bone. Due to the high flexibility of the movements, many people suffer from shoulder pain. At times, there is a tissue break down and shoulders stop moving. Shoulder dislocation, frozen shoulder, osteoarthritis are considered as major shoulder troubles. Apart from that, wrong postures, odd sleeping positions and jerks causes temporary muscle pain. Ice pack massage, regular stretching and nutritious food along with taking care postures can keep shoulder pain at bay.

Back

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The back joint, is one of the most common trouble maker for maximum people. In fact, 9 out of 10 people suffer from back pain. Cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), lumbar (lower back), sacral spine (tailbone) frame our back. In most of the cases, back pain is acute or semi-acute. Major accidents, herniated disks and stenosis or surgeries gone wrong lead to chronic pains. It is also a leading cause of disability. Studies have proved that obesity, lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of back pain. Smoking is again one of the causes of back pain. Post pregnancy pain if left unattended can also lead to major issues. In fact, stress also is considered as a major reason of back pain.

Joints are vulnerable and require regular care. Eat healthy food, work out regularly, and do not take any injury for granted. In case of pain, consult a doctor and you can always rely on physiotherapy for natural and drug-free relief.

5 Effective Ways to Avoid Joint Pain in Winter

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Onset of winter is greeted by many but; at times the temperature drop affects our body negatively. Low temperature usually causes joint stiffness, soreness in joints or inflammation. This makes our joints less flexible and in turn we experience pain or it can also lead to a major injury. To prevent such conditions, we have got 5 most useful tips. Have a look.

1. Eat good food

food

Befriend food that is rich in Omega-3, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Omega-3 rich foods like, Salmon and nuts can keep a control on inflammation. Food items like green leafy vegetables that are rich in terms of Vitamin K can bring relief from pain. Fruits that are packed with Vitamin C can bring comfort to the damaged cartilage. Apart from that, Yogurt, herbs and spices can also be of great help. However, say no to saturated fat, trans fats, omega 6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrate and MSG.

2. Dress well

Winter demands you to be overdressed. Surely not in literal terms but you have to layer up. Wear warm clothes to avoid skin exposure to cold weather. If you are planning to stay out in winter for long, wearing warm clothes becomes altogether more necessary. Gloves, caps, knee caps, socks everything and anything that make you feel warm and comfortable should be worn.

3. Get going with exercise

Early cold mornings do not let you get of the bed but; this luxury can be harmful. Working out in winters is really helpful for preventing joint pains. Well if you are not a gym freak then mild stretching and exercising can be of great help. Something as easy as walking and running can also do. Make it a point to be out in sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. But make sure that you do not exercise without warming up. You can also cater the issue by being conscious about regular activities, like take stairs instead of elevators or escalators for limited storeys. You should also take care of your posture. Wrong postures can elevate pain.

4. Stay hydrated

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Low temperature causes stiffness of joints and that further leads to pain. To avoid muscle friction, drink lot of water. It will keep you energized and would help in increasing your stamina to exercise better. Studies have proved that even mild dehydration can bring you pain sensations.

5. Lose weight

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It might sound a bit abrupt but it’s true. People who are overweight face extreme joint pain in winter. So it is advisable to lose weight during winter by eating right kind of food and exercising in order to avoid joint pain. Excessive weight can cause more pressure to the muscles and joints and in turn it leads to threatening diseases.

General tips:
1. If possible preheat your room and car
2. Do not take mild pain or minor injuries lightly
3. Don’t shower in cold water
4. Avoid over exertion
5. Don’t let lethargic attitude creep in

Get Relief from Neck and Shoulder Pain Naturally

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Hectic schedules, improper postures, irregular food habits, accidents and injuries or any other reason can lead to neck and shoulder pain. No matter how mild or extreme the pain is, it can eventually grow into something more dangerous. So here are some natural, easy to practice and drug-free solutions that can provide you relief from neck and shoulder pain.

1. Take breaks

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If you are into regular desk jobs and have to sit in front of a computer for long hours then try to take short breaks. It is not that difficult as such. If you get up from your seat to address a nature’s call or attend a personal call or even to meet or greet someone, then do 2 to 3 rounds of neck and shoulder rolls. That’s it! Such mini breaks if utilized wisely, can do great miracles in bringing relief from neck and shoulder pain.

2. Rest and sleep well

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If you are into taking naps then make sure that you are resting on a right kind of surface. Buzzing off on a desk or chair or sofa can cause neck or shoulder pain. The same applies for sleeping too. Sleeping on a firm mattress can keep the upper body symmetrical and away from pain.

3. Hot shower

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A hot shower after a tiring day seems to be ideal. And it definitely is. Hot shower can give you relief from muscle stiffness and tension. It can also boost oxytocin levels. Basically it soothes your stress and gives relief from pain.

4. Ice pack trick

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If you are experiencing extreme neck and shoulder pain, then try the ice pack therapy. It numbs the area and inflammation that causes pain. Do not let the pack rest on any part for more than 15 minutes. Practice ice pack therapy for 2 to 3 hours in a day.

5. Gentle stretching

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If you are not that much into core exercising then it is advisable to perform stretching on every day basis to keep neck and shoulder pain at bay. Besides, if you are already suffering from the pain, then try gentle stretching to get relief from the ache. Do not push yourself. Small reps for short duration of time can be useful and safe.

6. Yoga

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What better than yoga to be flexible! Practicing yoga every day can not only keep you away from pain but can make your body flexible and improve blood circulation that can help you to reduce the intensity of pain.

7. Massage

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Visiting a professional massage center or spa can definitely be useful in bringing relief from pain. Home massages can also work. Apply any pain relief ointment or lavender oil and massage the affected area gently for 15 to 20 minutes then have a hot shower and you will feel relaxed and relieved.

8. Physiotherapy
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One of oldest and most reliable natural pain relief therapy is physiotherapy. Do not hesitate to turn to physio-devices in case of chronic and acute pain.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises for Healthy and Strong Knees

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Knees are the shock absorbers of our body. With every movement we make, our knees experience the shock and hence, when they are out of function, our movements turn out to be difficult. Accidents, injury, old age, sedentary lifestyle or any disease can be the cause of knee sufferings.

Here are some quick, easy to do exercises that can bring relief from knee pain.

Stretches:
1. Half-kneel hip and quad stretch

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This stretch is highly advisable for chronic knee pain. Get down on your knees. Fold one of your legs with the knee being bent (flat on the ground). You can put some matt or soft cloth at the bottom to feel comfortable. Once a 90 degree angle is formed, put your same side hand at the ankle and pull it inside; towards your hip. Slowly bring it down to the first position. Practice the pull for 10 to 15 reps and do not hustle. Go slow to get effective results.

2. Chair knee extension

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Sit on a chair with a straight back. Put a stool or a small table in front of you and place one of your legs on it in a straight position with your knee slightly raised. Now slowly push your raised knee towards the floor using the strength of the single leg muscles. Hold for 5 to 7 seconds, release and repeat. Perform it using both legs.

3. Wall hamstring stretch

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Lie down on a flat surface on your back in front of a wall. Lift one of your legs from the floor with the help of a resistant strap. Let the stretch go higher until you feel the pull. Slowly bring your leg down and perform the same thing with another leg. Try to maximize the pull each time.

Strengthening exercises:
1. Step up

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Get a step up bench or low height table or even the last step of the staircase would do. Stand in the alert position in front of it. Lift your right foot and put it firmly on the surface. Press it properly with your right heel. Lift your other foot and place it on the surface and get the right one down. Start with a slow pace and slowly develop the speed.

2. Side leg raises

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Lie down on a flat surface sideways. Turn one of your legs inwardly and let the other leg rise at 45 degrees. Hold the position for 5 seconds and bring the leg down. Repeat it with another leg.

3. Wall squats

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Stand in an alert position with your back against the wall and your feet being shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees 30 degrees and slide down the wall. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds and move up- back to the alert position.

General Tips:
1. Go for walks or jogs on daily basis to avoid knee pain.
2. Swimming, cycling or yoga can also help
3. Go for staircase instead of elevators/ escalators whenever possible

Health Benefits of Happiness

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A smile can burn nearly 10 to 40 calories! Now imagine how much health benefits happiness can provide! Happiness is just not a feeling or emotion; it is a great source of mental and physical well-being. Generally, weight management, fatigue disorders, excessive mood swings and ill-focus can be dealt with happiness. Its other benefits are listed below:

Happiness improves our sleep cycle:

Stress can steal peace of mind and can lead you away from sound sleep. And inversely, happiness works as a catalyst to fetch you the goodness of deep and satisfying sleep. You won’t feel sleepy during odd hours and would also feel fresh and energetic.

Happiness strengthens our immune system:

Back in the time, many studies have proven that, happy people do not become a victim of infections and other diseases that frequently. The clear cut reasons are not yet known but, it is still believed that, there is an impact of happiness on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates our immune system and stress levels. So basically, staying happy is linked to being healthy.

Happiness improves our heart condition:

A happy you stands a lower of chance of becoming a victim of heart-diseases. A study conducted in 2005 has proven that happiness plays a vital role in controlling blood pressure and lowering heart rate. One research has also been successful in proving that happiness also stabilizes heart rate variability- time interval between heartbeats. All in all, positive emotions work as a fuel to improve heart health.

Happiness can control our inflammation levels:

Inflammation is basically body’s reaction to injury or damage so, being happy might not completely save you from injury but yes, it can help you with the recovery process. It is usually noticed that those people who have a jolly nature, recover quickly from illness or accident injury in comparison to the grumpy ones. It is because of the connection between inflammation and happiness. Staying happy would make you feel pain a little less and would also help you with getting your strength back.

Happiness can bring us the gift of longevity:

Amusement, contentment, gratitude, and love are major stimulators of happiness and if a person experiences all these emotions at regular intervals, he or she would have a long, happy life. We usually wish and pray for long and happy lives of our loved ones, but if we fail to fill their lives with jollity, they might not be able to have a long life. As such, happy mood drives a healthy lifestyle and so you are able to avoid unhealthy choices and presence of positive vibes allows a person to live a stress-free life, which in turn extends life expectancy.

Happiness can control our stress levels:

Stress Level

Our adrenal glands release Cortisol- the stress hormone. It in a way helps us to react and respond in stressful situations but, its long term presence can be harmful. So being involved in happy and joyous activities can be really helpful in avoiding diseases and health-hazards.

5 Easy Exercises to Get Relief from Tight Shoulders

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A tough day affects your mood as well as your body. Usually stress and muscle tension cause tightness of shoulders. It has a tendency of irritating you and you might also feel uneasiness. So to help you with this troublemaker, here are 5 exercises that you can practice at your convenience.

1. Shoulder Rolls:

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A fun shoulder stretch to remove tension.
Stand in an alert position with hands down and arms straight. Move your shoulders forward in a circular motion at a slow pace. You can perform this same exercise in backward circular motion. Keep your body relaxed all through the while and take deep breaths during the set. You can expand the diameter of the motion till the time you do not feel the hitch. Apart from reducing muscle tension, it also removes stiffness and improves blood circulation.

2. Cow-Face Pose

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Gomukhasana fondly known as cow-pose face is one of the best exercises to cure tight shoulders.
Sit on a flat surface with your legs extended. Then, twist and twirl them. First bend your knees in such a way that your sole faces the floor. Put your left foot under your right knee and move it towards your right hip. Place your right knee on top of the left and move the right leg towards the left hip. Once comfortable, balance your body weight on both sides. Now place your left hand at your spine with your palm facing forward. Bend your right elbow and put it on the spine in an inwardly rotated format. Let both your palms rest on the center of your back. Slip your forearm into the void of your lower back and roll it in a vertical format. Try to tangle your fingers if you can. Top elbow should be beside your head, facing the ceiling and the bottom one should face the floor. Keep the back straight all through the while.

3. Cross-Body Arm Stretch

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If you are looking for a quick muscle loosening exercise then cross body arm stretch is for you.
Stand firmly with your hands straight. Cross one of your hands with elbow facing your chest. Use your other hand to pull that hand towards your chest. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.

4. Standing Wall Stretch

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It is an easy and anytime practicable stretch.
Stand in front of a wall keeping one arm distance. Put your arms on the wall and bend down your upper body. Hold the pose till you feel the pull. Slowly come to the starting position.

5. Arm Circles

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Make some way and doze away tight shoulders
Stand with a firm spine and stretch your arms in straight position- framing 90 degree angle. Slowly move your hands in a circular motion (1 foot in diameter). Do it for 10 seconds. Perform the same exercise in the opposite direction.
In case of acute and chronic pain, let physiotherapy come to your rescue.